Sexual Harassment?

  1. 0 We had an interesting situation on our unit and I would like to get some the opinions from some of you regarding this issue. I work on a 34 bed med surg ortho unit as the charge nurse. We had a CNA on our shift (male from Nigeria) who we LOVED. He was a wonderful employee and very fun to work with. He was always getting thank you cards from patients and families and patients would come up to see him after discharge to let them know how he was doing. His name always came up on our patient satisfaction scores. He was just great to work with.

    The one problem that he had was that he was a bit of a flirt. He was a good looking guy and he would flirt with anyone who would flirt back. Most of us just told him to lay off and stop being a pest and he would stop. No problem. Some of the staff in the hospital took him up on his offers and he had quite a rep in the hospital as a guy who got "lucky" with the women. But you know, as long as he was doing it on his own time, I did not care what he was doing.

    Well the following situation came up. We had a man in the hospital for a while with a very nasty infected dog bite on his hand. His wife stayed with him at the hospital. He was a real nice man and all the staff felt very friendly toward him and his wife and got to know them well because he was there for about three weeks. The patient and his wife became very close with the CNA in question. He would always stop in and talk with this patient and his family, even if he was not assigned to that area.

    One day I come to work and I find out that this CNA is on suspension for investigation of sexual harassment of this patients wife. The allegation was that the CNA was flirting with her in front of her husband but this was not the main issue. The wife stated that the CNA had called her on her cell phone and told her that he was very attracted to her and that he wanted to take her away from her husband. The wife told her husband about this. The husband/patient waited about 4 days before he spoke with anyone about this. The manager and HR got together with the CNA and he stated that she had called him and there had been several calls between the two of them. The CNA said that the wife had asked him for his cell number so she could call him and check on the status of her husband. So they asked him to produce his cell phone records and he was unable to produce them. If they could find evidence that she had called him, he would not have been terminated. We are union and he is filing a grievance but I think the termination is going to stand because of the fact that it involved a family member of a patient and that he got her phone number off the patients chart.

    I would be interested to know what you guys think about this. Would you have terminated him for this one incident?
  2. Visit  diane227 profile page

    About diane227

    diane227 has '32' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Management, Emergency, Psych, Med Surg'. From 'Seattle Washington'; 60 Years Old; Joined Oct '08; Posts: 1,988; Likes: 2,050.

    26 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  Whispera profile page
    0
    His cell phone records shouldn't be that difficult for him to get from the cell phone service provider. You also say he got the patient's wife's phone number off the patient's chart, which would indicate he called her. I'm not sure he's telling you the whole truth.

    In any case, I would have suspended him until things could be more clearly determined, and not fired him right away.
  4. Visit  Brian profile page
    6
    I don't have an opinion on whether or not I would have terminated him or not, not enough info.

    but.....it's not hard to provide your cell phone record. If he chooses not to provide it to plead his case, it seems suspicious that there is more to the story than he is saying?

    If I wanted to keep my job and all I needed to do was to provide my cell phone record? I'd probably do it.
    Scrubby, sharpeimom, rn/writer, and 3 others like this.
  5. Visit  leslie :-D profile page
    2
    Quote from diane227
    The CNA said that the wife had asked him for his cell number so she could call him and check on the status of her husband. So they asked him to produce his cell phone records and he was unable to produce them. If they could find evidence that she had called him, he would not have been terminated.
    he cannot absolve himself because he was unable to produce his cell records.
    since he is grieving it, he needs to call up his phone company and get a printout of all calls for the specified period of time.

    not only did he allegedly come onto a family member, he attempted to inflict harm on a marriage.
    that is serious stuff.

    yes, i do find it a terminable event.

    leslie
    Scrubby and MedSurgeMess like this.
  6. Visit  Katnip profile page
    2
    I agree with all of the above. My cell phone bills always itemize the calls. It wouldn't be difficult to ask the wife for her records. That way it would be easy to tell who initiated the contact.

    Even so, the employee should not have used his personal phone to talk to the wife. She could call the nurse's station. The CNA's story sounds a bit fishy to me.
    Libitina and pagandeva2000 like this.
  7. Visit  Altra profile page
    1
    The content of those phone calls is and will probably continue to be a he said/she said deal. However, being in personal contact on your own phone (not the hospital's) with the family member of a patient is stepping pretty far over the line, and I would have to strongly consider termination for that poor judgement.
    Libitina likes this.
  8. Visit  Virgo_RN profile page
    1
    I agree with the others. It sounds awfully fishy.
    pagandeva2000 likes this.
  9. Visit  Chapis profile page
    1
    i think he wanted to know how far his flirtiness could go. he knew he was stepping in muddy waters even if he was aproached by the wife, he should have carried himself as a professional and stayed that way. he's using work as a dating site. i think there's more to the story probably from both sides, but i agree with leslie, i also find his actions terminable.
    leslie :-D likes this.
  10. Visit  pagandeva2000 profile page
    1
    I don't know this person or what he did, but I would certainly question how cell phones were exchanged to begin with. If the wife wants to inquire about her husband, the proper channels are to call the unit. On a side bar, I suspect the wife probably tried calling the floor, but had difficulty reaching someone because unless there is a unit clerk, most nurses don't have time to answer phone calls. Either way, exchanging phone numbers crosses serious lines and I would not have been comfortable with that.
    Angie O'Plasty, RN likes this.
  11. Visit  Straydandelion profile page
    0
    It sounds like he is very unprofessional and it finally caught up with him. The hospital atmosphere is not one to play the dating/flirting game whether the claim is true or not.
  12. Visit  hcer4507 profile page
    0
    I don't see anything wrong with the kind of sexual harassment accusation against the CNA. How could the CNA know if the wife did not want to be with the CNA without him first asking her? Besides, isn't it easy to get out with the wife while the patient (husband) is in a hospital bed ? If unwanted "sexual advances" happen when a man calls a girl to ASK if the girl wants to go meet somewhere, then how could the man know before calling that his call to ask the girl to go somewhere would be unwanted? I'm not a psychic either so I would not know either if asking a girl to go somewhere is unwanted without asking. I don't see this as a big deal.
    Last edit by hcer4507 on Aug 31, '09
  13. Visit  BEDPAN76 profile page
    0
    I feel bad for the CNA. You said he was an excellent employee. I would suspend him for 3 days, then have a serious talk with him. He is from a different culture (Nigeria ) and there could be some misunderstanding about being available to patient's family. As you said, he had an excellent record before this, and many compliments. If he can provide the phone records, he should be given another chance. (Based on the info the OP gave) Just my

    A few years ago I had a male CNA from the Philippines. The patients loved him. Then one day we got a complaint. He called all of the older women "Mama". and one women took offense. I had to counsel him. In his country, this was a way to show respect for older women........So he agreed to use the term Maam.

  14. Visit  rn/writer profile page
    4
    Quote from hcer4507
    I don't see anything wrong with the kind of sexual harassment accusation against the CNA. How could the CNA know if the wife did not want to be with the CNA without him first asking her? Besides, isn't it easy to get out with the wife while the patient (husband) is in a hospital bed ? If unwanted "sexual advances" happen when a man calls a girl to ASK if the girl wants to go meet somewhere, then how could the man know before calling that his call to ask the girl to go somewhere would be unwanted? I'm not a psychic either so I would not know either if asking a girl to go somewhere is unwanted without asking. I don't see this as a big deal, I hope that I'll be a nurse manager one day so stuff like this does not happen.
    I find it repugnant to approach an obviously married person to scope out romantic possibilities, but if this has to happen, let it take place in a bar or some other social venue. To do something like this while the husband is lying in a hospital bed is a real breach of good sense, good ethics, and trust.
    How could the CNA know if the wife did not want to be with the CNA without him first asking her?
    This is ludicrous. He's there to do a job, not line up dates. He has no business checking out this possibility for about a dozen reasons.

    I might have suspended him pending the investigation, but if he is not cooperating (coming up with the cell phone records), he leaves them no choice but to show him the door. You can't employ people who would exercise such poor judgment and such inconsiderate behavior toward a vulnerable patient.
    Last edit by rn/writer on Sep 1, '09
    rachelgeorgina, Scrubby, dishes, and 1 other like this.


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